SwimSwam Pulse: Canadians McIntosh, Wilm Are Biggest Surprises Of ISL Season

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which swimmer had most exceeded their expectations so far in the International Swimming League (ISL) season:


Question: Which swimmer has most exceeded your expectations so far in ISL Season 3?

The poll took the six swimmers listed in our “Breakout stars of the 2021 ISL season” article from September 15 and asked readers which name had surpassed their expectations the most with the majority of the regular season in the books.

Coming out on top was 15-year-old Canadian stud Summer McIntosh, who had her coming-out party this summer at the Olympic Games.

In Tokyo, McIntosh placed fourth in the women’s 400 freestyle (setting a new Canadian Record of 4:02.42), took ninth in the 200 freestyle, and led off the Canadian women’s fourth-place-finishing 4×200 free relay, all before her 15th birthday in mid-August.

Competing for her hometown Toronto Titans, McIntosh has carried that momentum forward into the ISL, picking up three event victories and one runner-up finish despite only racing in two matches before heading home to start *checks notes* 10th grade.

In the opening match of the season, McIntosh ventured outside of what fans knew her best for from the Olympics, freestyle, and promptly won the women’s 200 butterfly (2:06.61) and 400 individual medley (4:30.05), both personal best times. The 200 fly also marked a new Canadian 15-17 Age Group Record.

The Titans then had two weeks off before getting back into action in Match 5, where McIntosh helped lead the club to its first victory in franchise history. McIntosh astounded fans by winning the women’s 400 free in a time of 3:58.78, torching the Canadian Record by almost three and a half seconds. The time remains the only sub-4:00 swim of the ISL season through Match 9.

With Toronto locked into a playoff spot, McIntosh is expected to be back in action during the ISL postseason, which runs November 11-28 in Eindhoven.

Finishing a close second to McIntosh in the poll was fellow Canuck Ingrid Wilm. While readers may be impressed by what McIntosh has been able to accomplish at such a young age, it surely can’t be as big of a surprise as what Wilm has done, given McIntosh’s Olympic exploits.

Wilm has come virtually out of nowhere to be a premier point producer for the LA Current, having entered her debut ISL season with personal best times of 26.90, 57.75 and 2:06.78 in the women’s 50, 100 and 200 backstroke—all set more than four years ago (the 200 is from August 2015).

But Wilm has completely transformed her game this season, claiming six individual victories, including the backstroke skins in Match 8, and lowering the Canadian Record in the 100 back on three occasions—bringing it all the way down to 55.61 last week.

She’s also hit respective times of 26.08 and 2:02.26 in the 50 and 200 back, marking substantial personal best times, and upon the conclusion of Match 8, ranked 10th overall in MVP scoring in the league (sixth among women, second on the LA Current) with 151.0 points.

Trailing the two Canadians in the poll was Toronto’s Louise Hansson, who has been a marvel for the Titans with six event wins and ranks 13th in league scoring (141.25 points). DC Trident’s Ali DeLoof also picked up her fair share of votes, having won consecutive women’s 50 backstroke races in Match 4 and Match 5.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Did Katie Ledecky make the right decision by moving to Florida to train under Anthony Nesty?

Is going to Florida the right move for Katie Ledecky's career?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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There's no doubt that he's tightening up
29 days ago

I initially voted McIntosh, because who doesn’t love a girl rocking up to a pro league, destroying the competition, then packing her bags to go back to school.

But as the article notes, I think Wilm would have been a better pick, because at least McIntosh was on my radar after her stunning Olympics.

Wilm though wasn’t someone I was really aware of before. And she has won pretty much all her backstroke races, beating out all the big names, dropping great times and national records (no mean feat when she’s a compatriot of Kylie Masse, who is the best big pool backstroker in the league by a country mile).

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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